By David Futrelle
But there are a few brave MRAs willing to accept the fact of the wage gap. One Men’s Rights Redditor I wrote about a few years back called MrWhibbley acknowledged that yes, men earn more than women. But in his mind the problem wasn’t discrimination. It was actually the result of women being a bunch of nasty bitches.
Now another Men’s Rights Redditor has stepped forward with an even bolder theory: the wage gap exists – but it’s actually a sign that men are the truly oppressed ones.
Yes, that’s right: Men are oppressed by earning more than women.
In other words, men are the victims of a vast female conspiracy designed to ensure that women can get free meals from their dates.
I should point out that in addition to being very silly, Neo2Trinity’s tweet is packed with utter bullshit. So let me take a few minutes to rebut some of the claims.
Neo2Trinity gets one thing right: more than 90 percent of workplace fatalities are male.
But this is not an issue that affects anyone but a tiny percentage of a percentage of working men. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 5,190 US workers died on the job in 2016 (the most recent year they have complete data for); 4,803 of them were men (92.5 percent). In that same year, there were 151 million people in the US work force (not counting unemployed people); 80 million of those were men (53 percent).
That means that the average working man had only a 0.006 percent chance of dying in a workplace accident in 2016, which was actually a pretty bad year, accident-wise.
That said, it’s appalling that as many as 5000 people die each year in workplace accidents, especially since many of these accidents are preventable, the result of employers skimping on safety to save money.
Thing is, for all the rhetorical attention MRAs devote to this issue, I have yet to see even a single MRA lift a finger to actually do something to improve job safety. Indeed, MRAs are arguably making things worse, given how many of them are Hillary-hating Trump voters who helped to elect a man who is doing his best to gut workplace safety protections.
As for the idea that men take dangerous jobs to earn more to spend on women, well, it turns out that dangerous jobs do not, on average, pay more than less dangerous ones, as cartoonist/blogger Barry Deutsch noted in a blog post some years ago. Sure, coal mining is dangerous, as Men’s Rights Activists never tire of pointing out, and it pays relatively well. But agriculture is actually MORE dangerous — and farm workers earn shit. If you want to make the big bucks, Deutsch notes, you’d do better to skip the dangerous jobs and go into a field that require specialized knowledge, assuming you have the necessary education.
As for Neo2Trinity’s claim that women are wealthier than men? Just plain wrong. In fact, the wealth gap is considerably larger than the wage gap; for every dollar of wealth owned by men, women own only 32 cents. Divorced women find it even harder to accumulate wealth; the median net worth of divorced women is only 25 percent of the median net worth of divorced men.
I will, however, grant that widows are generally better off financially than their dead husbands — though dead men don’t really have much in the way of expenses. So amidst all the rest of the bullshit in the comment, Neo2Trinity actually gets two things factually correct — but in each case completely misses the point. Which is pretty much the MRA in a nutshell: on the rare occasions they get something right, they’re still completely wrong.